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The Toronto Mafia Gambling Supremacy and Heroin Trafficking 1955-1970

Length: 13 pages10 minutes


An ugly incident that occurred in a popular Toronto night spot brings to mind the struggle for supremacy in the Ontario gambling world, circa 1961. Gambler Max Bluestein was beaten with brass knuckles and lead pipes as he was leaving the Town Tavern on the night of March 21, 1961. Later it was learned that Bluestein had refused a drink offered him by Hamilton, Ontario Mafioso John Papalia. An independent gambler, Bluestein had resisted similar efforts to join the syndicate in 1955. The Toronto Police led an investigation supervised by Chief John Mackey. Mackey believed that the beating absorbed by Bluestein was the work of American gamblers attempting to encroach on Canadian soil.

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